The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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The Cruel Mother
S HE lean'd her back unto a thorn ; Fine Jloivers in the valley And there she has her two babes born. And the green leaves they grow rarely.
She's ta'en the ribbon frae her hair, And bound their bodies fast and sair.
' Smile na sae sweet, my bonny babes,
An' ye smile sae sweet, ye'U smile me dead.
' And, O bonny babes, if ye suck sair, Ye'll never suck by my side mair.'
She 's ta'en out her little penknife
And twinn'd the sweet babes o' their life.
She 's howket a grave baith deep and wide, And there she 's buried them side by side.
She 's buried them baith beneath the brier, And washed her hands wi' mony a tear.
' O ay, my God, as I look to thee, My babes be atween my God and me!
' And ay their smiles wad win me in, But I am borne down by deadly sin.'
twinn'd] robbed, deprived. 102
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